Service Can Be a Dirty Word

We’ve been discussing this never ending thing in our lives called waiting. A few years ago, I went through a season when the Lord just said, “not now” when it came to my speaking and I was frustrated. I had a strong feeling that He was saying “later”, but what was I to do in the mean time? I knew that later didn’t mean sit and do nothing.

It was during this season that I started volunteering at Proverbs 31 Ministries doing very simple no-brainer data entry. My waiting was not passive. I did what I knew to do while I waited. I thought of this time last Thursday while in the office.

Sitting on the floor of the Proverbs 31 copy room watching the salmon-colored papers slowly building into a pile, a thought crossed my mind. “Ministry isn’t always pretty”. Don’t get me wrong; I’ll be the first one on the team to tell you I am just beside myself that I have the honor to be a part of this amazing sisterhood of women but just like every avenue of ministry, there is the exciting and the mundane. There is the opportunity to encourage women and teens to find their completion in Christ through speaking and writing. Then there is the office work; my service of putting data in our system from each speaker’s events. Not exactly exciting; yet necessary. I think that often people look at the lives of others and think, “If only I could___________(fill in the blank with whatever she has that you don’t), then I would be fulfilled.” and so, life goes right on by while we wait.

But you see, you don’t have the full picture of the life of that gal. In everyone’s life, we see part of the picture. Hopefully all of us are serving in some capacity and it isn’t always glamorous; whether we’re changing diapers in the nursery, making meals for a sick neighbor or making copies for a conference. The question is: when it is glamorous or when it is not, are our hearts shining? Are they reflecting, the way the moon reflects the sun, His glory though our attitudes no matter what capacity we are serving in?

Now, I’m going to let you in on a little secret that really is not beautiful: I struggle here. You see, I’m a person who thrives on affirmation. I love to be told, “We appreciate you” and “Thank you so much” (fortunate for my fleshy heart, I hear that often in our office). That part of me, the part that lives for the pats on the back, doesn’t please my Jesus. He wants me to serve, in whatever capacity I’m in, with a heart that is praising Him and serving for His praise only. He wants my completion; my purpose and fulfillment in this life to be from and in Him.

Psalm 103:21 says “Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants, who do his will.” NIV This verse encourages those of us who are doing His will through service to praise Him. Praise means to commend or give honor to. The one who is to be commended and honored is Him; not me!

I’m sure all of you have run into the woman who hasn’t gotten her pats; the woman who feels underappreciated and isn’t afraid to let others know. When we are this woman, it is really not a pretty thing! The question we have to ask ourselves when we find ourselves here is: Who is the serving for and why are we serving? Will we choose praise or will we pout? Will we gravel or glorify?

“The way you get meaning into life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose.” Mitch Albom

When you are feeling unnoticed or unappreciated, what do you do to not allow yourself to go down into the pit of complaining? Let’s encourage each other today in this all too common struggle!

I’ll go first: when I feel myself wanting to go to that place, I start by saying words of gratefulness to myself. I look at everything and everyone around me and I purpose turn my heart towards being thankful.

Now it is your turn! Just click on the “comment” below to share! (If you are receiving this by email, pop over to so we can hear from you too).



  1. Boy, I sure needed to read your post this morning! Words like "waiting, unappreciated, unnoticed, and pit of complaining" certainly resonated in my heart. Thanks for helping me get back on track and remember that it's not "all about me and my feelings". God knows what is best and I need to trust Him…every step of the way!

    Can't wait to see you next week 🙂

  2. I have the "Woman Inspired" toolbar on my work computer, so I click on a devotion and it brings me right back where I need to be… grounded with our Lord. My waiting is having the patience to listen to God on my calling. I thought it would be really really big and change my life, but now I realize it may be something small and local, bu the impact could be huge! See you next week also!!

  3. In 1992, I took a temperment test. After being married over 30 yrs. both of us wanted to see what it might reveal. My test showed an insatiable need for approval, pats on the back…lots of appreciation necessary to fill me up. The word "insatiable" stood blaring. That meant there was no way any human could ever fill that need enough so that I wouldn't have it dragging on me. The need was insatiable.
    The great part of knowing this was to face it and resist its dominance. The LORD is the only fountian of approval that lasts, and it's found at the cross, and it lasts as we keep going to Him. He did everything for us and God approves of us always because he did.
    Everyday, he approves of us because of Jesus. That approval feels good.

    We are human and have weaknesses. One day, we will be in his presence. Old will be passed away. Insatiable needs gone.

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